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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores a particular manifestation of heavy metal medievalism through the echoes of fin’amor and courtly love poetry in the music of doom metal and Gothic metal bands like My Dying Bride and Cradle of Filth. Fin’amor poetry and literature, developed primarily by French troubadours in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries, typically involves the objectification of a married aristocratic or royal lady as a quasi-deified figure before which the male troubadour performs a kind of worshipful self-debasement. The fin’amor dynamic is also considered from the opposite side, through female-fronted Gothic metal bands like Within Temptation, Nightwish, and Theatre of Tragedy. Bands of this nature often present the female singer as an ethereal and spiritually powerful force, effectively embodying the deified aristocratic lady of the fin’amor tradition. These singers typically employ a powerful operatic vocal style and are often juxtaposed with male death metal singers in a twin lead vocal pairing referred to as beauty and the beast, a term that not only describes the vocal tones but also hints at the gendered roles these singers enact. These echoes of fin’amor in metal exemplify the genre’s enduring fascination with the Middle Ages and illustrate the genre’s deep connections to other medievalist cultural forms and to its cultural environment more generally.

Keywords: fin’amor, doom metal, heavy metal, beauty and the beast, Cradle of Filth, Theatre of Tragedy, lovesickness, melancholia

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